South Africa Probing the Hit Squads

De Klerk investigates a rash of apparent assassinations

One late afternoon eight years ago, Griffiths Mxenge, a well-known black lawyer and antiapartheid campaigner in the city of Durban, was driving home when he stopped to help four men whose pickup truck had apparently broken down. According to an affidavit given to the police, the men abducted Mxenge, drove him to a field outside a nearby soccer stadium, stabbed him repeatedly and then left him to die in a pool of blood.

Since 1977 nearly 50 government opponents have been murdered under murky circumstances, the victims of apparent assassinations. Few of their killers have been identified, let alone apprehended by...

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